The cash-strapped Ministry of Defence is selling off millions of pounds of equipment at bargain basement prices to try to plug a budget deficit.
Everything from boxes of pencils to an aircraft carrier is to be cleared out in an emergency fire sale. Officials are hoping to make up a £36billion shortfall.
Among the items up for grabs are 14 Gazelle helicopters, costing around £5million which are expected to fetch around £100,000 and armoured Jaguars for VIPs which can cost up to £200,000.
The MoD’s Defence Equipment & Sales website also has top-class watches which are likely to be sold for a fraction of their value.
Expensive timepieces have long been handed out to spies and undercover SAS troops working at British embassies abroad so that they could pass themselves off as well-heeled diplomats.
The “unused as new” watches do not carry an asking price but it is expected they will go for a song.
There is a Raymond Weil Tango men’s watch, advertised as “Stainless steel case, black dial with red accented hands..sapphire crystal glass”. It normally sells for £1,000. Also on offer is a ladies Crystal Dior watch – “Bezel set with 48 diamonds 0.24 carat, black lacquered dial, black rubber strap set with black sapphire crystal” – worth £4,000.
A source said: “These watches were bought for SAS and defence intelligence operatives who work at our embassies abroad so that they look the part when they go to events and parties attended by diplomats and local dignitaries. It’s all part of creating the right image.”
Last year the Disposal Services Authority secured £84million from sales of unwanted equipment. The watches are on auction beside military equipment, including Land Rovers, motorbikes and even SAS combat jackets.
Also for sale is a £6,000 fridge advertised for £920; ships’ mattresses; a portable dentist’s chair and even a 100ft-wide girder bridge.
The website also offers dump trucks, aircraft loading equipment, office furniture, tools and even a flight simulator for training Lynx helicopter pilots.
The largest item is the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which originally cost £200million. It is being sold in an eBay-style auction, with the latest top offer a mere £3.5million.
Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, a former infantry commander, said: “The one thing of which you can be certain is that once-precious defence equipment is sold it will be needed again within the week. These goods have cost us millions and now they are being sold for peanuts. That cannot be right.”
2011-09-12 15:31 编辑：crystal156